I loves me some baked beans. There’s something about the sweet flavor, the instant protein rush of taking in all those beans…just the sheer yumminess. Some things are definitely comfort food, and (before the kids nixed it) we used to have baked beans somewhat frequently during the summer. Of course, I wasn’t making my own beans – I was popping the top on a can of Bush’s or some other brand, since it was infinitely easier than making my own and sitting by the stove for a few hours.
Recently, I reached a point where I crazily thought that making baked beans and kielbasa would be something the kids would finally embrace. It’s beans! They (sometimes) like beans! And kielbasa! They love kielbasa! (Feel free to put on Bill Cosby’s “Chocolate Cake for Breakfast” routine here, to get the appropriate tone of voice.)
Alas, the kids gave this one a meh rating ONLY because dd just can’t deal with things being in sauce or mixed or touching or OMG THERE ARE FOODS NOT BEING SEPARATED BY MILES OF SPACE. As I recall it, ds ate it well enough, but he’s a bit dubious about beans, so this really ended up being more of a me-and-dh kind of meal. I have to say that’s entirely THEIR LOSS. This not only came out well on night 1, it also reheated beautifully. So, if there are leftovers: fear not! Put ’em in the fridge and reheat later in the week and all shall be well.
Also worth noting, this is possibly veganizable if you can get smoke flavor or a bacon flavor that doesn’t have any meat in it and you substitute the turkey kielbasa with a vegan sausage of some kind AND you have a vegan solution for Worcestershire sauce. (I know that sounds impossible, but vegan cooking requires resourcefulness and persistence, and it’s often quite yummy in its own right.) You could probably also meat-it-up with a beef or pork kielbasa, if you’d rather go in the other direction. I prefer the turkey kielbasa for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the lower fat grams per serving and the greater likelihood that the flavor of the sausage will work with (rather than over top of) the other flavors.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 8-10hrs on LOW (but can go 11-12 on LOW); 4-6hrs on HIGH
8 oz uncured, uncooked bacon
1 pkg (typically around 1lb) turkey kielbasa
three 15 oz cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp dry mustard
1 cup maple syrup (I use grade B, but you can use grade A)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp powdered ginger
1-1/2 cups water
Make It Happen
1. Coat the inside of a 4-5qt crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Chop the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the crock pot.
3. Cut the kielbasa into 1/4-inch coins and add to the crock pot. Stir to combine.
4. Add the beans to the crock pot. Stir to combine.
5. In a bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Then add them to the crock pot and stir to combine.
6. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10hrs (or easily up to 12hrs) or on HIGH for 4-6hrs.